Who & why are we?
The best way to save the world or be environmentally friendly is to not produce more and more organic or sustainable or responsible clothes. However, unfortunately the journey towards a bright new world is with layers upon layers of the resisting giants that will not cave. And I don’t mean just the industry’s producers, but also within ourselves. Let’s be completely honest here, we are always going to buy clothes, most of us here probably grew up during the golden generation of world’s most forward advancements with biggest purchasing power, and with the ease of few clicks of the thumb, we get a new piece of fresh and beautiful wear delivered to our door. Nothing’s stopping us.
The best way to save the world or be environmentally friendly is to not produce more and more organic or sustainable or responsible clothes (yes, saying this twice!). No matter how ethically made these clothes are, they still put a strain on the environment. Multiplied by billions, a small strain becomes a serious crippling and killing injury.
We also are living in an era of endless choices and with every pro, there will be cons. In this case, is the crisis of identity which big brands have jumped in ever strongly to seize opportunity. The boom in eco-consumption fuels that kindling fire for authenticity. It adds legitimacy through trailing along ethical ideals, even when they are not. The fine print gets very fine. Which is kudos to their genius.
It’s estimated that over 800 billion new garments are produced globally each year. In Australia alone, it’s estimated that over half a ton of textiles are sent to landfill every minute. And these landfills are our neighbours in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and so on. With people living in and around it, how are we loving our neighbours well? Reality extends to what is unseen. And truthfully, it is often in the unseen that our faith needs to be stirred and awakened.
It is also estimated that by 2030, the apparel industry will emit some 4.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, matching the current output of the US’ total greenhouse gas emissions, offering a significant contribution to global warming. But this future might already be upon us and in this rare but crucial case, it is not a good thing. Luxury brands are already burning excess stock in a bid to preserve the market value of their products. One prominent brand destroyed over $35m of excess, unsellable products which is apparently common practice in the fashion industry.
The production of unsustainable levels of new stock is a worrying by-product of our heightened consumerism. But this is just the basic economics law, as long as there are demands, the supplies won’t stop feeding. It can be agreed that addictions can rarely just stop cold turkey. We can try to disrupt the industry by fighting against it but unfortunately and evidently, it is as far as it gets: a disruption; a mini inconvenience to such giants.
First quoted by Sun Tzu, the Chinese general and author of The Art of War is ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ - which later adopted as The Godfather Strategy - simply translates to ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. Not implying to just count our losses and yield but in order to change a culture, we have to understand it first; change it from the inside out. Instead, turn them all into collaborators. Our vision is to collaborate with artists from around the world inclusive of all styles, colors, popularity, etc. This is in fact, what exclusivity means: uncommon; one of a kind.
What we meant was, individuality can be collective. We are the commons; and we are all on the same journey of rebuilding a better world for our future children. Let the children be children not having to worry about wildfires, rainstorms, and hurricanes. Lasting effect does not take a little change of buying mass produced products with green tags on. It takes a transformation, a lifestyle change. We can be different. We are all already knitted individually unique. Unfortunately, anything tried too hard loses its focus. And in our race for identity, we did not gain but lost our authenticity. Instead of procuring art pieces that we aspire to represent our individuality, we got uniforms of the masses. Walking around looking alike, wearing the same; to be very straight to end my note, living a lie.
We are creative beings made in the image of a creative God. However, like everything else, quick fixes won’t fix anything. Perhaps we can re-evaluate what ‘sustainability’ means for ourselves before going out there trying to be basing it all on what marketing campaigns are telling us. While it is important to get fully educated on this issue, perhaps only a handful of us will really dive into it. Meanwhile, in this oxymoronic age, we all have the innate consciousness yet perplexed as our search for fulfilment continues. Therefore, our race for tags that tell us what we’re procuring is green, ethical or with any other indicators of corporate responsibility.
First step of overcoming anything is being brave to accept what is fact; that we are all doing exactly what we know we shouldn’t do. To rise up and stop the neglect - for the cause that goes beyond our own; requires full intentionality. This, requires heart; it is our children, and children’s children. If we can’t love our neighbours yet, we can surely love our own - rightaway.
Our little part is to stop beautifully made uniforms heading into the furnace; making it our own - your originals, your individuality, your uncommon. We are the Uncommon Commons.
xx, The Uncommon Team